We must be nearing peak summer vacation time, because I've recently been getting a lot more requests from friends for book recommendations. On Monday, someone called to ask what he should take to read on vacation and-- as will happen sometimes when you read a lot of books-- I froze up. To hide the fact that I couldn't think of anything, I pulled up the Summer Reading store on Amazon, and quickly recommended Yes, Chef by the chef Marcus Samuelson-- because I know my friend well and was fairly certain he'd love it (it's a great book, by the way).
If Summer Reading helped me find a book, it can probably help you, too. Here are some of my personal highlights from the Summer Reading store:
- Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand - Is this really chic lit? To be honest, I haven't read enough in the genre to know, but I read this book on a recommendation from a colleague and I really liked it. It's set on Nantucket. It's a roller coaster ride of emotion. It's not too fluffy (my main fear when I started) and the characters seem real. A perfect summer read.
- Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - Speaking of books I hadn't expected to like... I hadn't read Wolf Hall, and I had low expectations for this book (historical fiction can be hit-and-miss)-- but this is a vivid, immersive novel that will make you care about the characters, even though they've been dead for centuries. One of my favorites of the year.
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - This book takes a while to warm up, but once it does you'll find yourself reading straight to the surprise of an end. It's a book that sneaks up on you, but that's a good thing for a thriller.
- Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone - This is the true story of one guy's quest to master being a magician, which initially results in disappointment when he fails miserably at the Magic Olympics in Stockholm. Nearly ready to give up on magic, Alex Stone instead immerses himself in it-- the result is a fascinating (and fast for nonfiction) read of a book that's about Alex's journey, the history and art of magic, and the power of perception.
- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane - Ever wonder why people have such a high opinion of Dennis Lehane? Read Mystic River and find out.
I could go on, but I'll stop. There are a lot of books in the Summer Reading store, and this may be a bad summer metaphor to make, but the titles listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. To see more Summer Reading look here.